Yesterday saw two polls released about the Houston mayoral race. Usefully, we now have something to compare to the earlier Zogby poll.
One of those polls was another from a local media outlet. 11 News and KUHF Houston Public Radio paired together for a poll from Bob Stein and Rice University's Center for Civic Engagement. This survey should have some particular weight as we consider these, because the Center for Civic Engagement is the only polling outlet that is consistently involved in Houston politics. This poll's methodology probably took Houston politics into account more than others. Like the Chronicle/Zogby poll, Peter Brown was shown ahead. 24% of those polls said they would vote for him.
Brown's nearest challenger is comptroller Annise Parker, who holds the support of 16 percent of likely voters in the current poll. Former city attorney Gene Locke has 14 percent support, and Harris County Department of Education trustee Roy Morales has 5 percent support. Forty-one percent of likely voters told pollsters that they have not yet settled on a candidate. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percent, which means it is difficult to determine whether Locke or Parker has more support than the other.
Although Parker and Locke were found neck-and-neck with this poll, this poll is the only one to show Controller Parker that behind the front. Actually, Annise Parker released her own poll, conducted by the well-respected Lake Research Partners, that shows her ahead with 27%. Her poll shows Peter Brown with 21% and Gene Locke with 17%. If “leaners” are taken out of the equation, though, everyone sits within the 4.9% Margin of error: Parker, Brown, and Locke would sit at 18%, 12%, and 12%, respectively.
We cannot say with any certainty, now, who leads the mayoral race, but reaching a majority is unlikely for any candidate next Tuesday. I just care about who reaches the top two, and three polls over a week and a half shows a likely runoff between Parker and Brown. Clearly, Gene Locke has a lot of last minute work in order to reach the Finals. He already started: last week, he released the first negative advertisement of the campaign, trying to win back African American votes from the white guy, Peter Brown. That might help (or just show desperation), but he'll need some strong GOTV, too.